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Gas Price Blues, and Some Alternatives

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With the temperature going up, it seems like the gas prices are following. There are a lot of explanations such as turmoil in Libya, but when you’re just trying to get to the grocery store, or work, any reason seems to fall short of a good one.

You may have some alternatives to help you during this time though. I’m not one to spend the money in your wallet so I’m not going to tell you to buy an electric vehicle. In theory, they are a nice concept, but until the technology is better, they aren’t the best option, and in many instances, they can be more expensive financially than just taking the gas increase on the chin.

Some of these ideas will come off as obvious, and others will come off as completely outrageous, but who am I to not mention the obvious and strange?

1. Public Transportation

I know this isn’t groundbreaking information, but public transportation is a very inexpensive way to get to some of your destinations. Some cars can cost as much as 50 cents per mile, and many forms of public transportation cost a fraction of that.  If you live in a medium to large metropolitan area, then chances are in your favor that you have some level of decent public transportation.

2. Walk Locally

Nearly everyone drives to at least 1 or 2 walkable stores, parks, or other destinations each week. Not only will walking add some much needed exercise to our days, but it will save some of that gas money. It may take longer, but you’ll be getting healthier, and saving anywhere from 15 – 50 cents per mile. It may not seem like a lot, but over time it will add up, and the health savings will be incalculable.

3. Car Pool

Car pooling made a huge come back in 2008 and it has lingered around a bit. Some cities have even started Park and Ride programs where you drive to one location and meet up with other people to car pool.

If you’re uncomfortable with riding with strangers, than consider finding a local coworker that can swing by and just split the gas down the middle. You might be overpaying a bit for what you use, but you will also be paying for the added inconvenience of picking you up.

4. Quit your job

I know, it sounds drastic. This should be a last resort, but if it doesn’t make sense economically to drive to work, then don’t. Just remember that Gas prices fluctuate and this could be a temporary spike, and it’s rarely good to make permanent decisions for temporary problems. You may be getting paid well, but depending on how much Gas is costing you, you could take a lower paying local job and still come out ahead.

4b. Quit Your Job – Extreme

While I’m ahead, I figured “why not pull out all the stops and sell your car.” If you go this route and grab a local job, you could potentially ditch the car completely. This is especially doable if you’re a family with multiple vehicles. This is definitely not the most ideal situation, but if you’re committed, you could adjust and it would become normal. Check out Jacob at Early Retirement Extreme to see how this can be done, and you can still enjoy your quality of life.

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